This executive conversation by Digital Commerce 360 with Gary Schoch, go-to-market leader for the customer experience portfolio, HCL Software, first appeared in the Digital Commerce 360 How to Build Better B2B Marketplaces. Download the full report here.
Marketplaces — one-stop shops for buyers browsing or looking for specific products — are an ideal platform for brand visibility and marketing. Whether a B2B company sells on a third-party marketplace or launches its own, a well-executed marketplace strategy can improve customer experiences and increase sales. To discuss how a unified commerce platform helps B2B companies adopt and maximize the benefits of marketplaces, Digital Commerce 360 spoke with Gary Schoch, go-to-market leader for the customer experience portfolio at HCL Software.
How do marketplace initiatives help B2B companies stand out in their existing markets?
B2B companies today want to get to know their customers better, and marketplaces are helping them do that. Traditionally, many B2B companies haven’t dealt directly with customers. Marketplaces have given them the opportunity to gather customer information and build up customer profiles, allowing them to personalize the customer experience and market to them consistently. This will ultimately help them raise their brand equity.
How do marketplaces help B2B companies enter new product markets?
Marketplaces are a low-risk, low-cost way to enter new markets. It’s easy to expand your merchandise selection without the need to add inventory and incur holding costs for those products, and you can lean on your vendor for their expert product knowledge. Many companies that take this approach, have used it to expand into adjacent markets and quickly build market share.
Why is it important to coordinate their ecommerce and new marketplace on the same platform?
With a unified commerce and marketplace platform, there are no integration requirements. So, time-to-market when launching a marketplace is much faster. And combining ecommerce site and marketplace functions reduces costs — savings that extend beyond licensing and infrastructure to include IT resources costs — and results in more effective business users who only have to learn one user interface. Additionally, buyers use search to find what they want quickly. So, having search as a shared service across a marketplace and an ecommerce site means the embedded AI learns from all searches and then optimizes the experience based on an increased amount of data.
How does this help B2B companies improve the customer experience?
B2B buyers want to quickly find products, make a purchase and get back to other priorities. Having a one-stop shop, flexible checkout options and a wide range of products or services enhances their experience. Intelligent search across ecommerce sites and marketplaces helps buyers find B2B products easily based on a variety of complex attributes. Trust and price transparency are key requirements for buyers. Buying from a trusted brand — even though the seller on the marketplace may be unknown — enhances the experience.
How can a B2B company get their marketplace initiatives off the ground?
They should look for a trusted partner. HCL Software, for example, helps B2B companies identify the right type of marketplace to support their business goals, build a business case, and even deliver free proof of concepts (POCs) for new innovative approaches in marketplaces.
Download the full report here.